This is the story of my game of Civilization IV G-minor 99 from Civilization Fanatics Center.
What am I doing playing a CFC Hall of Fame game? I'm not quite sure. I'd never been interested in messing around with the mod. The path here started when I tried to play a few turns in Realms Beyond PBEM4 for Kylearan. I ran into problems with custom assets, and ended up downloading the HOF mod to use its assets checker to help figure that out. Then there was (is) the Barley Demons team for SGOTM11 where I'm participating. Since I now had the HOF mod installed and working, I figured I may as well jump in and play some turns there too.
I'm not sure how, but somehow the G-minor 99 HOF challenge caught my eye. I've never tried competing for the HOF so I'd like to see how it might go. The parameters were right up my alley, I've had something of an obsession with speedy culture victories lately. Just for anyone who didn't click through to the G-minor 99 thread, here are the parameters:
Victory Condition: Cultural (though all victory conditions must be enabled)
Starting Era: Ancient
Map Size: Standard
Map Type: Any
Must not play as Inca.
I selected my six opponents, chosen just as the AIs most willing to trade techs. Mansa, Peter, Pericles, Wang Kon, Willem, and Frederick. Asoka would be on the list but we can't play against him if I'm playing India myself.
I actually made two tries at the challenge. The first was a game as Ramesses, winning in 1170 AD, but I could see that faster was very much possible. I learned a few lessons from that game:
- Stone and marble are absolutely essential for cathedral building. So much so that a map without them is not worth playing.
- That means that Industrious stinks. It can't make up for lacking stone and marble at all. Cheap forges actually kind of distract from the main goal by making you go to Metal Casting earlier than you really want.
- There's no such thing as overkill on religions. I had 5 with Ramesses, and ran out of cathedrals to build a good 40 turns before the end, even without stone/marble. You want all 7.
- Relying on Universal Suffrage towns for hammers for cathedrals does not work. The towns mature too late. This is a good tactic for a culture victory in the 1700s or so, but not sub-1000-AD. Therefore the legendary cities must have some hills for hammers.
- It was a Fractal map, which turned out okay, but one can do better. I picked Hemispheres for this one. Hemispheres with low sea level seems to generate the largest amount of land, and therefore goody huts.
- On Chieftain, goody huts really are everything. You can pop workers and settlers. Popping a worker within the first few turns is essential - it skips 23 turns of worker building and literally means you win 23 turns sooner. Seriously, ditch the map if that doesn't happen. I tried about 10 starts until getting one with good enough results from huts.
- I knew this already, but Spiritual is absolutely a required trait. I am 100% absolutely sure that no non-Spiritual leader (even Inca) will beat a Spiritual one. You build up to SIXTY-THREE temples which puts Spiritual light-years ahead of any other trait in hammers saved. Saving 3-5 turns of anarchy throughout the game directly translates to an earlier win date. And a culture game likes to bounce around civics, between Rep and Suffrage, between Slavery and Caste, and between Org Rel and Pacifism. No-brainer.
- Gandhi is our leader, being Spiritual. Although Philosophical actually isn't so great as you might think. It shines on higher difficulty to bulb religions and trade them for AI techs, but not so much on Chieftain where you just research everything yourself. And once you get National Epic and Pacifism going, Philo is marginal. How fast you pop Great Artists actually does not matter. All but the first few will just bomb a Great Work so it doesn't matter when. And you don't build Philo's universities.
- Overall I think I would actually prefer Financial. But India's Fast Worker puts Gandhi over the top by a significant margin, not least for its hut-popping ability. So let's go pop some huts.